Jerk Beer Can Chicken

I was determined to BBQ last weekend, come rain or shine. In the end we got a bit of both and I managed to grill this fowl without the need to employ the emergency umbrella technique. The jerk sauce is a work in progress right now as very annoyingly I lost my recipe which only needed slight improvement after going down well at the Tipped Winter BBQ. This sauce needs more sticky sweetness and I’m pretty sure I added tomato ketchup the first time around. Is that a crime against jerk?

The main reason I wanted to make this anyway was for the method, which I came across in Fiona Beckett’s book ‘The Frugal Cook’, when I reviewed it here. It basically involves lowering a chicken onto a half full can of beer and then gently turning it onto the BBQ. The steam from the beer keeps the bird incredibly moist – the fact that it looks funny is a bonus.

Jerk Beer Can Chicken (UPDATED RECIPE HERE)

Jerk seasoning, enough for two medium sized chickens (like I say, this is work in progress, it’s yummy but I’ll experiment with the ketchup)

4 scotch bonnet chillies, de-seeded
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
6 spring onions
50g ginger
8 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
2 tbsp thyme leaves
2 tbsp brown sugar
120 ml white wine vinegar

– Whack the whole lot in a food processor and slather it over the meat. Let it sit for as long as possible, ideally overnight.

The Beer Can Method (from The Frugal Cook by Fiona Beckett)

– Fiona doesn’t mention her BBQ lighting preferences but I prepare mine for cooking large bits of meat or chickens by lighting the coals in the centre, letting the flames burn off and when the coals are white hot, move them to the sides. Put a drip tray (I use a small roasting tin) in between the coals, then put the grill on top and you’re good to go.
– Drink half the beer from the can then lightly oil the can and sit the chicken on top of it (as below). Then lay it carefully on the BBQ, cover and cook for about an hour for a medium sized chicken. The bird is cooked when you pierce with a skewer at the thickest part of the leg and the juices run clear.
– Use tongs to remove the beer can and then transfer the chicken to to a warm dish. Let rest for 10 minutes or so and then serve.

Category: Barbecue, Caribbean Food, Main Dishes, Meat, Not Quite Right 26 comments »

26 Responses to “Jerk Beer Can Chicken”

  1. Mark

    I’ve been meaning to try this for ages now. Next time the sun shines I’ll buy me some chicken, it looks great – and funny! I reckon ketchup is a go-er in the jerk, it should make it thicker and it uses many of the other ingredients that you use anyway (sugar, vinegar, spice), just with tomatoes.

    Do you think the beer choice affects the flavour much?

    Marks last blog post..The Bull’s Best of The Best Beer Festival

  2. foodrambler

    I love the look of that!

    foodramblers last blog post..rambling restaurant

  3. Jonathan

    Looks great. We’ve done this a few times. It’s such a fun way to cook chicken. I can never believe that it is so moist.

    Jonathans last blog post..Spooning with Rosie – Book Launch

  4. Peter G

    Oh! I’m intrigued! I’m curious does the bird taste at all “yeasty”?

  5. Helen

    Mark – Good to hear you are with me on the ketchup. I think the beer choice will make a difference, yes. I obviously covered my chicken in jerk so it was hard to detect the flavour of the beer but it was there I think. I know the perfect person to experiment with different beers though…
    foodrambler – one for the restaurant? ;)
    Jonathan – I am definitely busting this one out at my next BBQ!
    Peter G – well I thought I detected a slight beery flavour but then I had covered the whole thing in jerk sauce so any subtleties were a bit lost!

  6. Gourmet Chick

    I love a recipe which includes the phrase “drink half the beer from the can”!

    Gourmet Chicks last blog post..Chocolate Brownies

  7. kang

    Lol … it does look quite amusing and I keep thinking back to past bottle stuffing incidents….. BB style.

    Nonetheless, steamng juicy chicken sounds like a winner to me :)

    kangs last blog post..The coolest secret London restaurant… is BACK.

  8. Peter

    Helen, Beer-can chicken is one of the most enjoyable ways to eat BBQ chicken and the marriage with Jerk AND using Red Stripe beer is brill!

    For best results, place the bird upright (like in the second pic), indirect heat and cover up the BBQ.

    You can also add the Jerk aromatics inside the beer.


    Peters last blog post..Hilopites With Mushrooms and Mint

  9. Helen

    Gourmet Chick – Me too! As if I ever need an excuse…
    Kang – try it! It is the best BBQ chicken method I’ve come across.
    Peter – Er, what makes you think I have a BBQ big enough to stand up a chicken upright?! I’m grilling on a London balcony here dude…

  10. Lucy

    This looks tasty and delicious and a bit porno all rolled into one. And I love Red Stripe so I’m going to do this on the next BBQ friendly day we get : )

    Lucys last blog post..letter | noel edmonds

  11. mark

    I will get experimenting!

    I have a mate who has some crazy butt chicken substitute that replaces the can so you can put any beer you like in it which opens up so many more possibilities. We were thinking duck with a beer called Kwak because it has a certain poetry to it!

    marks last blog post..FAB POW! Sushi

  12. Helen

    Lucy – gotta make the most of those BBQ days – I almost did this in the rain…
    Mark – yes I can’t wait to hear about the results! I saw one of those butt thingies on youtube and I did marvel at it I must say. Just think of the possibilities! I love the idea of the duck. What about using a fruity beer with the duck? Like cherry or something. I bet that would be amazing.

  13. Boo

    Haha, looks hilarious, proof that there’s no excuse for dry chicken on a bbq! Beery flavour, sounds interesting.

    Boos last blog post..Belgo

  14. Helen Yuet Ling Pang

    This looks so good! I’d never heard of it until on Twitter the other day. Looks a bit painful for the chicken but incredibly tasty for the consumers of it… (PS your BBQ looks much cleaner than mine!)

    Helen Yuet Ling Pangs last blog post..‘Serendip’ by Peter Kuruvita – Book Review

  15. Niamh

    Fantastic! I’ve wanted to do a beer can chicken for ages. I’m inspired to do it. Love the Red Stripe can too, very fitting :)

    Niamhs last blog post..And I’m back…

  16. Alex

    That last picture just makes me laugh. Brilliant.

    Alexs last blog post..Eating New York: Momofuku Steamed Pork Buns

  17. aforkfulofspaghetti

    Hee hee!

    aforkfulofspaghettis last blog post..warm broad bean, chorizo and courgette salad – the stuff of summer…

  18. gastrogeek

    I love this! What a brilliant idea. Brings a whole new meaning to the term “food porn”….!

    gastrogeeks last blog post..Casa Brindisa

  19. OysterCulture

    I have been wanting to try this recipe, or a similar version for ages, although I must confess your pictures have me giggling. It sounds so intriguing.

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  20. Lizzie

    A couple of months ago my dad called me and asked if I’d tried this. I couldn’t quite picture how it’d work and he said: “Dear, you just shove a can of beer up it’s arse”. Very apt! Hilarious – I must try it soon.

  21. OysterCulture

    Wow, your site really did not like my new website – sorry about that, but I had to add that after stumbling across a few other posts related to to this method, it sounds so much better than “beer in the butt chicken” – that to me is a complete turn off, right from the start.

  22. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

    I am so making this when our grill gets here! :)

    Jenn AKA The Leftover Queens last blog post..Recipe for Shredded Carrots: Caribbean Carrot Salad

  23. Nate

    Beer can chicken makes some incredibly moist, succulent and flavorful roasted chicken. I did one using Guinness beer – so good!

    Nates last blog post..Ahi Limu Poke

  24. we are never full

    i giggled like a 5 year old when i looked at that top picture. nice…

  25. Dan

    Looking at these pictures reminds me of Withnail and I -“How do we make it dead?”

    Great post, will defo try this in future and Red Stripe! It just had to be Red Stripe didn’t it!

    Dans last blog post..Posh Pie and Mash

  26. Chris

    Brilliant! “Beer-violated chicken”. In the last picture it looks like it’s about to do a little dance.

    Chriss last blog post..Green and Blue, East Dulwich

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